Still using Windows Phone 8 or 8.1? No more app updates for you

Another step towards the end for Windows Phone devices.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Microsoft is gradually tidying away the remains of its failed multi-billion dollar plan to beat Android and Apple's iOS, with Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 devices now no longer receiving app updates from the Windows Store. 

As Microsoft warned in note to developers last year, as of 1 July 2019 Microsoft has stopped distributing app updates to Windows Phone 8.x or earlier devices. 

SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)    

"You'll still be able to publish updates to all apps (including those with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier packages). However, these updates will only be made available to Windows 10 devices," it said. Back on Halloween last year Microsoft said it would stop accepting new app submissions with Windows Phone 8.x or earlier packages. 

For many of the remaining users, this won't come as a huge surprise. Microsoft ended support for Windows Phone 8.1 back in July of 2017, so handsets haven't been getting new security updates or other fixes since then. 

It's almost the end of the era for Microsoft's once grand plan to become a big player in the smartphone market. 

Some - but not all - Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 devices were capable of being upgraded to Windows 10 Mobile. But now even those devices are on borrowed time; as of 10 December this year, Windows 10 Mobile also goes out of support. And for the Lumia 640 and 640 XL phone models, Window 10 Mobile version 1703 was their last supported OS version, which went out of support last month. Big companies are running down app support, too; for example, you won't be able to use WhatsApp on Windows Phone after the end of this year

Microsoft bought Nokia's smartphone business in 2013 for €5.44bn, with the aim of breaking back into the handset game but quickly realised it couldn't win and ended up slashing thousands of jobs and writing off more than the total cost of the acquisition just two years later. Failing to grab a big piece of the mobile business pushed Microsoft in a different direction, towards cloud services where it is now succeeding. However, Bill Gates recently said his biggest mistake was not creating Android. 

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